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What do employers think about researchers? January 22, 2010

Posted by qmresearchers in Research/Studies.

As a researcher thinking about leaving academia, it may be difficult to find employers that fully understand what a PhD entails and the advanced skill set that is developed during the training.  There are some roles in fields like finance and pharmaceuticals were a PhD is essential, but such jobs are in the minority.

However, a new report from Vitae entitled ‘Recruiting Researchers’ shows that employers are definitely keen and interested in recruiting PhDs but they simply do not know enough about what doctoral graduates have to offer.

The report surveys over 100 employers across different sectors showing that:

  • 73% would welcome more applications from PhDs
  • 6% actively and specifically recruit PhDs (Group 1)
  • 25% show a strong interest in recruiting PhDs but do not engage as much Group 1 (Group 2)
  • 47% have some interest in PhDs but do not actively target them (Group 3)
  • 22% are not interested!! (How dare they?!) (Group 4)

It seems that the majority of employers need to be educated about what doctoral graduates have to offer before they can/will actively recruit them. Perhaps this will change in the future as organisations like Vitae and people supporting researchers, promote the skills and qualities of doctoral graduates.  Additionally, cuts in HE budgets may lead to fewer academic posts, forcing doctoral students to work in other sectors, bringing their advanced skills with them. 

For the full report click here.




1. tbussoli - January 25, 2010

Hello Samuel
I have sorted the link out. Try now. Thanks for letting me know.

tbussoli - February 6, 2010

Hi Marco

There was no mention of internships. As you are a final year PhD student, I was wondering at what point you were thinking of an internship as this would clearly mean time away from your research. Although work experience is always useful when applying to companies, I know that this is often diffcult to do during a PhD unless your supervisor is particularly supportive or it is part of a knowledge transfer arrangement.

It may be possible to apply directly to companies as you near completion of your PhD but do leave enough time for applications. It takes longer than you think to do CVs and application forms well.

For internships within ICT and other vacancies you could try Milkround.com or Targetjobs.co.uk. Many large employers list their internships and vacancies on here. Also look at some of the websites of the types of company that you would like to work for. They will have jobs listed on them. Recruitment agencies specialising in IT, listed with The Recruitment and Employment Confederation, would also a good starting point.

2. Employers’ Perspectives on Researchers’ Skills « STEPS - February 24, 2010

[…] the skills of researchers (you can find another interesting post relating to this report at the Queen Mary Researcher Careers Blog and the full report itself here). According to the […]

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